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Dear Career Tips: How To Coach My Daughter

From Career Tips, 2019 Volume 6, June 2019

My daughter is a senior in college. She told me she won’t work for banks and pharmaceutical companies because they are greedy and unethical. I can’t convince her to keep her options open and speak or apply to as many companies as possible. What should I say or do to help her?

Dear Concerned Mom:
I would look at this from two angles...

1. Pushing to convince her is likely to only increase her resistance and get her to dig in more. Instead try to engage her on her thoughts in a positive way by asking questions:

That's an interesting perspective, help me understand it better.

  • What exactly do you mean by greedy / unethical?
  • What leads you to believe they are greedy / unethical?
  • Is it truly ALL companies in those industries?
  • How do you see that as different from what takes place in other industries or companies?
  • Have you ever thought about talking to people who work in those industries to see what they might say?

    2. Even though you might be worried that she’s ruling out a major source of opportunities, there are many other large industries she can pursue. And pursuing something in an area she’s actually excited about will be much more successful than pursuing a place where she has reservations.

    As she gets out and talks to people and gains their perspectives, her thoughts about pharma and banks, or subsets thereof, may shift. It’s most important that these be her own conclusions, rather than her feeling she’s doing it because someone is pushing her to.

    Explore with her what she’d most like to do, what type of organization in which she’d most like to do it, what the culture and environment should look like, etc. Help her gain as much clarity as she can on what she wants. Then you could encourage her to get out and talk to people, and explore...



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